Ricky Rubio's Road To Recovery

by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Ricky Rubio spent the final month and a half of his rookie season watching, unable to take the floor and help his Timberwolves teammates. The rookie sensation suffered a season-ending left knee injury on March 9, ending a season filled with magical passes and a deep passion for the game that Wolves fans grew to love in the span of just 2 ½ months.

But in the time since his surgery to repair the torn ACL and LCL in that left knee, Wolves fans have gotten to know even more about Rubio and his character off the court. They’ve felt his positive attitude through Twitter updates, heard him discuss his drive to return during his post-surgery press conference and gained a level of appreciation for the type of impact he had on the court—both through his play and his energy.

“I’m watching games, I’m watching the month and a half with the Wolves playing and I couldn’t help them, and it was hurting me inside of the hurt,” Rubio said. “It was tough for me to watch the games, but it gave me the power and the energy to come here every day.”

Rubio began his road to recovery even before he began walking without crutches, doing upper body workouts prior to his leg rehabilitation. Once he could begin his rehab, Rubio began working with the Timberwolves’ athletic training team as well as physical therapist Andre Deloya of Accelerated Sports & Therapy Fitness, Inc. Throughout June until he returned to Spain, he continued his rehab workouts both at the Lifetime Fitness Training Center and at Deloya’s facilities.

Team President of Basketball Operations David Kahn said earlier this summer that when Rubio returned to Spain, a member of the Wolves’ training staff would go with him to help keep him on his structured recovery plan.

Deloya said it was important to let the ligaments heal properly before pushing the rehab too far, but Rubio is within the guidelines of where he should be in his recovery. He said Rubio is one as good a patient as he’s ever had.

“He gets it. He understands that a career, it’s a long career he has ahead of him,” Deloya said. “There are hurdles in the way and the best way to overcome those hurdles is just to stick your nose to the grind stone and just keep working. He’s doing great.”

Rubio was an instant success during his rookie season. The Wolves’ 2009 fifth overall draft pick became an instant fan favorite, tossing highlight-reel alley-oops and seemingly unthinkable passes to his teammates while becoming a defensive leader on the floor.

He finished the year with 10.6 points, 8.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game. He led all rookies in assists, minutes and steals and recorded 12 point-assist double-doubles before his injury. He was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie Team in May.

And that’s only the beginning. With Rubio working tirelessly this summer to make his return next season, he’s learning just how important it is to make the most of your time when you’re healthy. He said he’s gained a new perspective on his career.

“When you are healthy you don’t realize how lucky you are,” he said. “You are doing things that when you are hurt you don’t’ know how hard it can be.”

Deloya said Rubio’s support system has been crucial to the process.

“He’s an upbeat, very practical person to begin with,” Deloya said. “He’s had the fortune of having very close family members and childhood friends with him throughout most of the summer, and I think they’ve really helped him weather the potential emotional letdown that can follow this type of injury.”

More than anything, it seems the thought of getting back on the court with his teammates is giving Rubio even more incentive to work hard this summer.

“He’s very motivated, he’s very goal-driven,” Deloya said. “And as long as we have goals for him to work on and we can see that he’s achieving those goals, he’s happy as can be.”

** Look for more on Rubio’s Road to Recovery throughout the summer on Timberwolves.com.

For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.


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